Here’s a timeline for generating interest in summer technology training and developing a valuable program for your staff members.
Up to Nine Months Ahead:
- Announce the dates early so that teachers can set their schedules and avoid conflicts with vacations and other professional development. Anecdotal experience indicates that August is a good time for tech training.
- Choose the time of day carefully. Typically, morning is more convenient and is when people are more attentive.
Six Months Ahead:
- Plan the curriculum. Make sure it offers courses for learners at different levels of skill and provides some courses that were not available the prior year. If using a committee, keep it small so it can work efficiently.
- Submit the proposal to district decision-makers (i.e., funders) promptly. Be as specific as possible, especially in the first few years.
- Try to nail down the specifics, such as instructors, the courses that each instructor will teach, the location of courses, and the necessary computer equipment. Hold all courses in a single location, if possible.
- Contact potential sponsors. Six months is necessary for companies to decide if they will provide funding, equipment, or expert advice.
- If graduate-level credits are going to be available, contact post-secondary institutions. With the detailed program in hand, it is quite likely that a teacher-education institution in the state will support credits for attendees.
Four Months Ahead:
- Start marketing the classes. This should be done through print-based district newsletters and the web. Ask the district administrator to write a letter of encouragement.
- Finalize curriculum and teachers. Be flexible, so that adjustments can be made if a certain subject seems to be drawing unexpectedly high or low interest.
Two Months Ahead:
- Finalize and print the registration brochure. This should include all of the information participants will need–registration information, descriptions of classes, directions to the site, etc. Make it as easy as possible for participants to understand what they will learn in each course.
- Get the brochure to all potential attendees. Don’t stint on distribution.
- Build a database to track registration.
- Go over curriculum in detail with each instructor to make sure they will teach what they promised to teach. It might make sense to hold a single get-together for instructors and the program’s support staff.
- Check the site’s conditions, air conditioning, computer connectivity, etc.
One to Three Weeks Ahead:
- Close registration at least a week prior to the courses. This leaves time to resolve problems.
- Preprint certificates for graduates. Each participant’s name can be filled in after completion.
- Choose classrooms based on final registration count for each class.
- Contact all participants to confirm their registration and include the title, date, and time of their class.
- Re-contact the instructors and affirm their availability and curriculum.
- Contact the school district and local news organizations for publicity.
- Order snacks, food, and small gifts for instructors.
- Check equipment and the site again.
One to Three Days Ahead:
- Print class lists at the last minute so they are accurate.
- Obtain miscellaneous supplies instructors might need.
- Meet with instructors to go over operational details (attendance list, salary vouchers, scheduling, etc.). Give them a token “welcome” gift.
- Post signs and decorations in the building to ease the first-day transition.
- Arrive at least an hour early to beat the early-bird participants and instructors. Make coffee and organize the registration/information desk.
- Get an extra staff person who can answer questions and run last-minute errands.
- Make notes about how to improve the program. Continue this throughout the entire session.